Thomas the Tank Engine

Just about anyone against the Kings is a viable play these days so a scoring point guard against his former team is certainly worthy of a roster spot. Hop on the Isaiah Thomas train. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Isaiah Thomas, Celtics – Guard on Sunday is nothing short of putrid so the best you can do is make due. Spending up for Chris Paul makes sense if looking for safety because he averages 45.4 fantasy points per game (FPPG) without Blake Griffin but I would prefer to take the discount for Isaiah Thomas. Not only is the “revenge game” factor in play but the matchup is spectacular against a Sacramento Kings team that just allowed Donald Sloan to produce a 17 point (PTS), four assist (AST) stat line against them. The Kings defense is absolutely awful and they play at the fastest pace in the NBA which fits Thomas’ style quite nicely as he likes to push the pace. After Thomas’ minutes initially dropping due to the return of Marcus Smart in late December, they are back up to 35.3 per game in three February games so far. Assuming Rudy Gay misses Sunday’s game, the Kings will use many small lineups that include James Anderson at small forward (SF) so the Celtics’ guards should be expected to play more minutes than usual to counter. Between the pace and matchup, Thomas is easily the top priority on the slate.

Langston Galloway, Knicks – Carmelo Anthony was a late scratch on Friday due to a knee injury and the team has no reason to rush him back. He had a MRI taken that showed no structural damage but the fact a test of that nature was needed at all shows the level of concern the team had for the injury. With Anthony likely out again on Sunday, Langston Galloway should continue to start in his absence. As a starter this season, Galloway has averaged 18.0 FPPG and he’s coming off a 2-10 shooting night against the Memphis Grizzlies. However, the matchup against the Nuggets is a complete 180 considering they are one of the worst teams defending opposing backcourts and Memphis is one of the best. On Thursday, Galloway dropped 17 points on the Pistons with five rebounds (REB) and six AST. Sans Anthony in a plus matchup, Galloway should rebound from his previous dud. He’s one of my favorite players to save on at the guard position so you can do a majority of the spending on big men.

Evan Turner, Celtics – Ever since leaving the 76ers, Evan Turner has proved to be one of those frustrating players who you cannot seem to trust for extended stretches. He’ll enjoy a productive streak and then fade back into oblivion. Well he is amidst one of those productive streaks as he has now scored at least 14 PTS in six of his last seven games and is now averaging 29.3 MPG in three February games. As mentioned in the Thomas tidbit, the Celtics will probably go small to match up against the personnel of the Kings and Turner is a likely candidate to see slightly more court time because of it. The pace of this game should provide plenty of rebounding opportunities and Turner is one of the best rebounding guards in the game. Hell, he has produced a PTS/REB double-double in two of his past three games and produced at least four assists in all three of those contests. He doesn’t produce fantasy points in an ordinary way but the bottom line is he has been getting it done and should once again on Sunday.

Forwards/Centers:

DeMarcus Cousins, Kings – Is much explanation really needed here? Boston ranks below average in defensive efficiency against opposing frontcourts and DeMarcus Cousins is maybe the hottest player on the planet. On Dec. 5 the two teams squared off and Cousins only played 25 minutes due to foul trouble. Playing this game in the TD Garden in a little worrisome because Cousins does not receive the same calls on the road as he does at home and could realistically find himself in foul trouble once again. With no other superstars possessing anywhere near the same upside, there’s no reason to overthink this because he’s going to be close to 100-percent owned in cash games anyways. With the way he has been playing recently, it’s more likely he finishes with a 30-10 double-double than disappoints.

Nikola Vucevic, Magic – Coach Scott Skiles has been playing around with his rotation recently but one guy who has consistently received his fair share of minutes has been Nikola Vucevic. In January, Vucevic averaged 32.5 MPG and sits at 32.3 through three February contests as well. Al Horford, a former All-Star, doesn’t seem like a player to target an opposing player against but the Atlanta Hawks have struggled to defend opposing centers (Cs) all season. Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to Cs than Atlanta and they also rank in the bottom eight of defensive efficiency against the position. All Vucevic has done is double-double in both his previous meetings against the Hawks this season and there’s no reason to believe he won’t yet again. He only averaged 30.5 MPG in the first two meetings so with an extra two or so minutes he could even approach 20-10 levels. Lock him in for cash games.

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets – In Friday’s Today’s Plays Article, I dug into Jokic’s recent success and the fact that he had been averaging 37 fantasy points over his past seven games before he dropped 40 more on the Bulls. He is simply one of the top up-and-coming Cs the league has to offer. The Knicks and Robin Lopez have proved to be a tough matchup for opposing Cs over the last week as they’ve allowed the third fewest fantasy points. Lopez battled it out with Andre Drummond the other night and got the best of him on both ends of the court and he seems to be playing the best ball of his career. Still, Jokic remains underpriced and provides sneaky value in the AST and defensive categories so he can remain productive even if he’s shooting poorly. There are so many ways for Jokic to reach value that I simply cannot fathom fading him until his price reaches upper-echelon C levels…because quite frankly that’s what he is already.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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